Paul Pogba has hailed the impact of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by claiming Manchester United are now a “proper team”.
United face Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday night knowing they are guaranteed to finish third if they win their remaining four matches after Chelsea and Leicester both lost at the weekend.
Pogba endured a spectacular falling out with Solskjaer’s predecessor as manager, Jose Mourinho, whose tactics and approach he criticised after a dismal draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 2018 - two months before the Portuguese’s dismissal.
But the France midfielder believes United are starting to find their feet under Solskjaer and deliver a better brand of football as they bid to extend their unbeaten streak to 18 matches against Southampton.
“You can call it a proper team,” he told United Review. “Sometimes before, we were maybe too defensive or too offensive and we didn’t have this balance or this control; now you can see we have that balance and there is more structure and we’ve been working hard on that.
“The improvement is huge and you can tell that. It’s always good to have that improvement, but you don’t want to stop it, you know you have to keep working. There is a lot of stuff to do, we are not there yet but we are on the way, and if we keep doing what we’re doing now, then I think there is nothing that can stop us to get to where we should be.”
Pogba has claimed he is enjoying his football more than ever at Old Trafford, only 12 months after expressing a desire to seek a “new challenge” elsewhere, and has formed part of a formidable front five with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood after six months out following ankle surgery.
But he has warned his team-mates that they have to finish the season strongly by securing Champions League qualification and aiming for glory in the FA Cup and Europa League. United face Chelsea at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday and have one foot in the Europa League quarter-finals as they hold a 5-0 advantage over LASK from the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.
“United is about trophies, we know that,” Pogba said. “And there are trophies we know we can get and we can win.
“We don’t want to let this opportunity go away. We’re going to do our best to go and get those two trophies by giving everything.
“We feel great. That is the mentality now – you have a positive mentality when you have a good result, but you also have to have the ability to get through the games like we did in the last few games.
“Every game is a final and we have to get the result that we need, that’s the mindset. It’s never enough for us, we have to carry on and keep fighting and keep pushing yourself to get better and better.”
On United’s battle to finish in the top four, Pogba added: “We have to think about us, to be honest. If we win all our games I don’t think we have something to worry about. You have to win. We don’t think about other teams or other results, we have to focus on ourselves.”